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Duke Prevails Over North Carolina In Chapel Hill, 84-77

It wasn't a spine-tingling ending, but it was a good, tense game. With the right ending of course.

As Jahlil Okafor has learned, nothing comes easy in the Duke-UNC rivalry.
As Jahlil Okafor has learned, nothing comes easy in the Duke-UNC rivalry.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

We thought that this game would be pretty different from the game in Durham, and in many respects it was, but it had one thing very much in common with Round One: UNC's errors in winning time.

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After the under-8:00 timeout, when Duke was up 62-59, look what happened:

  • 6:59 Marcus Paige Turnover
  • 6:49 Justin Jackson Turnover
  • 6:26 JP Tokoto Turnover
  • 5:22  JP Tokoto Turnover
  • 2:09 Marcus Paige Turnover
  • 0:35 Joel Berry Turnover

Compare that to Duke in the same stretch:

  • 6:35 Matt Jones Turnover
  • 1:35 Amile Jefferson Turnover

The under-8:00 came at 7:11 with Duke up 62-59, as we mentioned.

Duke scored eight points in 1:11, from 6:43 to 5:32.

And that pretty much was the end of it.

Carolina tried the standard fouling thing, but that only works if the other team misses, and Duke really wasn't missing: in the last 2:33, Duke was 10-1 from the line.

After the game, UNC's Marcus Paige said that "[w]e rushed a couple shots, a couple passes got a little errant and they capitalized on every single one of those."

Coach Roy Williams echoed his star: "We played pretty doggone well except for a 4- or 5-minute stretch there. I've got to do a better job of getting them to focus. You can't have those stretches there against a really good basketball team."

Certainly not one with a point guard like Tyus Jones.

Again and again - as a freshman! - Jones has come up huge in big games.

When you stop and think about it, when has he had a bad game? We can't think of a single one.

Jones had 17 in the second half and helped Duke shoot 59% after the break.

Jones led Duke with 24. He also had six rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Quinn Cook added 20. Jahlil Okafor finished with 14 while Justise Winslow kicked in 13.

Amile Jefferson had five offensive rebounds, or nearly half of UNC's total, and overall Duke did a nice job on the boards. UNC didn't dominate their as happened in Durham: overall the teams were even at 32 overall, but Duke had a slight advantage in offensive rebounds at 14-11.

Kennedy Meeks, so effective in Durham, wasn't much of a factor here: although he had nine rebounds, he shot just 1-7.

Brice Johnson again proved a tough matchup, shooting 8-12 and scoring 17.

Marcus Paige, throttled so thoroughly in Durham, played much better, hitting for 23.

Still, Duke has now won three of the last four and five of the last six.

Before the game there was a nice moment when UNC honored Coach K with an acknowledgement of his passing 1,000 wins and an appreciation of how Dean Smith was honored in Cameron.

That's fine for this season which was different in many respects.  We expect that on UNC's side, at least, the intensity will ratchet up considerably for a while.